Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?

In order to achieve full-scale bed bug control, you first have to know where these elusive critters like to hide. After all, if you do not hit all possible bed bug hot spots with the right treatment, they will return – and in great numbers after reproducing in those hiding places you missed.

“Where do bed bugs hide?” the answer is in the question. They like to hide in or near beds; that’s how they got their name.

Bed bugs live on blood—human preferably—and they come out at night to feed. They don’t typically venture far—no more than a few feet—so they need to be hiding close by where humans sleep. Their flat bodies allow them to crawl into minuscule crevices in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards.

adult bed bugs in a tube

Adult Bed Bugs

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Bed bugs primarily move around at night but can be spotted during the day often trekking across bed linens or the floor. However, when they are hiding out, they like to use their small, flat bodies to fit into the tiniest and darkest spaces possible.

  1. This might include cracks and crevices in walls and furniture, especially as an infestation grows and their soft-side bed bugs hiding behind a curtainabodes get crowded.
  2. They do like to be near their food source – blood, so that is why they like to hide in all parts of a bed like the mattress seams and crevices, box springs, headboards, and bed frames.
  3. Bed bugs do not have nests commonly used by bees or ants but they do tend to congregate. You may see areas where there are dark stains or molted skins, which are signs that bed bugs have been hanging out there.
  4. Bed bugs tend to like wood and fabric and are less likely to be found plastic or metal. However, while unlikely it is still possible as bed bugs have indeed been found in lights, light switches, and smoke alarms.
  5. Check for bed bugs in cracks in molding, at the edge of wall-to-wall carpeting, mirrors, picture frames, clocks, televisions, phones, wallpaper and even ceiling and wall junctures.

In order to successfully achieve bed bug control, you need to thoroughly inspect all of these hiding places. This may mean dismantling the bed and other furniture, stripping the bedding off, and pulling the cushions off the sofa. However, even then, because bed bugs are so small and difficult to see you may not uncover them all. Even after many hours of searching these areas, you may not know for sure if you have exhausted all possibilities. That’s why bed bug dog inspection companies have become so popular, as these specially trained canines are uniquely attuned to the smell of bed bugs and can pinpoint all their hiding spots with certainty.

As you look for them, think like them—they’re looking for places that are out-of-sight, protected, and dark. Common areas around the bed where they live include:

  • Mattress seams
  • Any holes in the mattress
  • Cracks in wood frames or headboards
  • Along the frame where the mattress rested
  • Wooden slats, on the ends that rested on the frame
  • In the holes where rails fit into the frame
  • Screw holes
  • Knots in the wood
  • Any items stored under the bed

What to Look For

Of course, knowing the answer to “Where do bed bugs hide?” won’t do you any good if you don’t know a bed beg when you see one, or if you can’t identify the signs of bed bug infestation.

Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, flat, and about 3/16” long. Nymphs are also flat but they are lighter in color and of course smaller.

Also look for these signs:

  • Reddish smears on your bed sheets from crushed bed bugs that were engorged with blood
  • Areas with dark spots or dark staining—this is the dried excrement of the bed bugs
  • Tannish skins that have been shed by maturing nymphs

Infographic: Where do bed bugs hide

Where Do Bed Bugs Hide [Infographic]

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In reviewing the main points, here are the highlights:

  • Bed bugs can be active during the day or night but prefer to do their moving and feeding primarily at night.
  • In the meantime, they prefer to hide closest to their food source throughout the bedding, mattresses, and bed frame.
  • Bed bugs are also found in all types of cracks and crevices mostly associated with wood and fabric but they do hide in areas around plastic and metal items as well.
  • To get control, every area must be searched thoroughly, which takes considerable time.
  • Bed bug dogs are the best means of ensuring all hiding places for bed bugs have been found because of their ability to smell the bed bugs.

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